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EN245 The English Nineteenth-Century Novel

***If you are interested in taking this module for 2018/19 please note that many of the texts on the current programme will CHANGE. Please click here for a draft outline of the module aims and texts for the next academic year (but be aware these won't be confirmed until after the exams, so avoid buying any specifically, for the moment). Any enquires should be directed to Dr Jen Baker

The information below is for the * 2017-18* syllabus

This is a Pathway Approved Option for the English Pathway and one of the Distributional Requirement options for the Theory, World and North American Pathways.

Course convenor and tutor:
Dr Jen Baker (H518) 
Office hours Mon 3-4pm, Thurs 3-4pm.

Download the week by week syllabus here (please note this has been updated in week 3)
* Please note that seminars start in Week One *

Objectives and Outline Syllabus:
This module aims to explore the form of the novel and the ways in which it develops in the particular context of nineteenth-century Britain, responding to rapid social change - and the possibility of revolution - and the correspondingly shifting understandings of class, gender, sexuality, nation and culture. We shall focus particularly on taxonomizing and defamiliarizing the genre of the novel, and in particular the "social novel": a form that sought to at once entertain, enlighten, and convince its readers. Novelists studied will include Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and Oscar Wilde.


  • Two x 2,500-word essays (topics in document on right-hand side of page)
  • 2 hour examination.

Deadlines will confirmed on your personal tabula, but note please that the first essay will be due in week ten of the first term; students should make their plans accordingly.

If you are an exchange student and studying for the full year, then your assessment requirements are as detailed above. If you are an exchange student studying this module for one term only, then you are required to submit a 3,000 word essay on the last Tuesday of the term you complete.

Information on the submission of essays can be found here.

Information on referencing here

The marking criteria


The course format will be 1X 1.5 hour seminars to be held weekly, reading week excepted.

You will be placed in one of the following groups
Group 1 Tuesday 11.00 - 12.30,
Group 2 Thursday 11.00 - 12.30
Group 3 Thursday 16.00 - 17.30.

Specified Tuesday's 5-6pm

Term 1: (Occulus, 0.01)
Week 3 – Mapping the Mind: C19th Literary Topographies and handout

Week 5 – Dialogues Between Image and Text

Week 7 – Science & Literature

Term 2: (S0.21)

Week 3 – The Haunted Novel and audio-visual

Week 7 – Devils and Dolls: The Victorian Child and audio-visual
[please note the pdf is a tidied up version of the one that accompanies the audio-visual]


Below I am specifying the editions I will be using: I strongly recommend those editions because of the quality of editing and accompanying critical materials in that edition, and it keeps the class flowing if we are all on “the same page”. However, I appreciate that many of you may already own or have purchased some of the texts/different editions, or for reasons of economy will prefer a cheaper edition. If so, please be ready with page numbers of chapters, your chosen quotes, etc, to help find corresponding pages quickly.

Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Jane Austen, Persuasion (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Anthony Trollope, Cousin Henry (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd (Vintage, 2015)
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Charlotte Brontë, Villette (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oxford World Classics, 2006 or 2008)
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1874) – any unabridged edition
Henry James, What Maisie Knew (Oxford World Classics, 2008 or 2009)
H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds (Oxford World Classics, 2017)


The reading load for this module is comparatively heavy, as many of the novels, while very rewarding, are also very long. It is therefore a REQUIREMENT of taking this course that you read at least two course novels during the summer vacation. Given the structure of the Warwick term, I would strongly, strongly suggest reading more.

If you would like to undertake some secondary reading, useful starting-points would be:

Deirdre David, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel (2001)

Francis O'Gorman, ed. A Concise Companion to the Victorian Novel (2005)

Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (1973)

WEEKLY SUPPLEMENTARY READING (now on right-hand side)

Ford Madoz Brown Work 

Ford Madox Brown, "Work"

Essay One 2017/18: topics

Essay Two, 2017/18 topics
Exam - This is a link to the past exam papers so you can get a sense of what is expected.


Week 1 Pre-assigned critical essays on Far From the Madding Crowd:
Hardy ‘The Dorset Farmer’ and Babb on Setting and Theme
Friedman and Casagrande on Bathsheba
Miller on Point of View, and Morrell on Romance vs Realism:

Weeks 2 and 3
Discussion points for Daniel Deronda
Link to Whewell, Aphorisms

Weeks 4 and 5
Discussion points for Villette 

Week 7
Discussion points for Dorian Gray
Riquelme Article

Week 8
Discussion points for Alice


Subsidiary links for some first essay topic texts:




Sample 1st-class Essays:

1. Landscape

2. Tess and Wuthering Heights

3. Female Relationships

4. Getting On C.19th Lit

5. Foreign Spaces

2017/18 Lectures

Mapping the Mind:
C19th Literary Topographies

Dialogues Between Image and Text

Science & Literature

The Haunted Novel

Devils and Dolls: The Victorian Child

2016/17 lectures

Michael Meeuwis on writing on novels

Andrea Selleri on Oscar Wilde

Michael Meeuwis on Realism and Records

Maria Cohut on The War of the Worlds

2015 lectures:

Space and Gender lecture

Lectures from previous years:

Houses lecture

Trollope Lecture

Nation and Narration lecture